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Among the many honors and prizes bestowed on children's book author and illustrator Brian Selznick is the coveted Caldecott Medal, awarded in 2008 for his remarkable tour de force The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Multi-award-winning illustrator Brian Selznick was born in New Jersey in 1966. His interest in art began at an early age: His family claims that on visits to his grandmother, three-year-old Brian would fashion dinosaur sculptures out of tinfoil he'd been given to keep him out of trouble. "Even in kindergarten," Selznick recalled in an interview with Scholastic Books, " I remember drawing and having the other kids gather around because they liked what I was drawing." He took art classes after school and studied at The Rhode Island School of Design.
Although he thought he wanted a career in theatrical set design, after graduation Selznick decided he would like to try illustrating children's books. He went to work for a prominent (now defunct) Manhattan bookstore called Eeyore's, where he learned about the business and put his art to use painting the windows for holidays and special events. Around this time, he wrote and illustrated his first children's book, The Houdini Box. His manager and mentor at Eeyore's helped find him a publisher. The book came out in 1991, while Selznick was still working at the store.
Since then, Selznick has illustrated many other award-winning children's books, including Andrew Clements's Frindle, Pam Muñoz Ryan's When Marian Sang, and Barbara Kerley's The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins. But his crowning masterpiece is an ambitious project entirely of his own creation, a groundbreaking 500-page tour de force that combines the elements of a picture book, graphic novel, and film. Published in 2007, The Invention of Hugo Cabret follows the adventures of an orphan who secretly lives in the walls of a Paris train station, as he tries to complete a mysterious invention left by his father. Intricate, innovative, and utterly spellbinding, the story was nominated for a National Book Award and received the coveted Caldecott Medal, America's top prize for children's illustration.
Selznick divides his time between Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.
Good To Know
Selznick is a first cousin, once removed, of iconic Hollywood producer David O. Selznick
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is the first full-length novel to receive the Caldecott Medal.